Govt Guarding Against Cyberthreats – Minister Chang

“We are cognisant of the associated increase in electronic financial crime. For instance, online banking has served as a tremendous convenience for businesses and individuals alike, but local financial institutions have disclosed considerable losses,” he pointed out. He noted that the development and use of new technologies, e-services and interconnected networks over the last few decades have seen a rise in cyberattacks, as cybercriminals take advantage of these advancements to commit crimes. Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to putting strategies in place in order to protect the country against cyberthreats.He noted that the development and use of new technologies, e-services and interconnected networks over the last few decades have seen a rise in cyberattacks, as cybercriminals take advantage of these advancements to commit crimes.“We are cognisant of the associated increase in electronic financial crime. For instance, online banking has served as a tremendous convenience for businesses and individuals alike, but local financial institutions have disclosed considerable losses,” he pointed out.Dr. Chang was delivering the keynote address at the University of the West Indies (UWI)/Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Cybersecurity Workshop on Wednesday, (July 24) at Up Park Camp, St. Andrew.Citing measures already put in place, he pointed to the development of a National Cybersecurity Strategy aimed at creating a more secure online space for Jamaicans.“Within the Cybersecurity Strategy, there is strategic intent and focus on the key areas of legislation, capability and capacity building, private sector and government partnerships and a programme of cybersecurity education,” he said.Dr. Chang further pointed to the work of the Cyber Incident Response Team, which is charged with detecting cyberthreats and alerting the Government to such incidents.“The team serves as our first line of defence and provides mitigation strategies should a compromise occur,” he said.In addition, he noted that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) is dedicated to cybercrime investigations and meeting the increasing digital forensic demands of the police force.The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency and JDF’s Cyber Command Centre were also highlighted by Minister Chang as being critical to protecting the nation’s borders, infrastructure, economy, and citizens and visitors from cybercriminals. Story Highlights Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to putting strategies in place in order to protect the country against cyberthreats. read more

623 New Housing Solutions At Shooters Hill

Construction is to begin by December on 623 new solutions under the Shooter’s Hill Housing Development project in Portmore, St. Catherine at a cost of $7 billion.This is being facilitated through a joint venture agreement between the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and Rite Solutions Development Company.Under the public-private partnership, affordable housing solutions, starting at $7.6 million, will be built on 157 acres of elevated land, primarily for low-and middle-income earners.The development is in keeping with measures by the Government to address the deficit of approximately 20,000 housing solutions yearly.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who signed the agreement along with principals of HAJ and Right Solutions at Jamaica House on Thursday (Aug. 8), said the costs of the units to be provided are “fairly reasonable,” especially for young professionals.“I think these are very affordable. I can see the young nurse, the young policeman, the young university graduate immediately just waiting to get one of these (units).“I want them to know, those persons who are leaving university, a year or two out of university, getting themselves settled, that the Government understands. We know what your ambitions are and we are putting in place the necessary programmes to allow you to achieve your goal of owning your own home,” he said.The Prime Minister noted that the lowering of the interest rates to zero for National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors, who earn $15,000 or less per week, has increased demand for housing.“We have made the market bigger and now we are…ensuring that we are actually putting solutions on the market,” he said.For his part, HAJ Chairman, Norman Brown, said that Shooter’s Hill “with its elevated location, panoramic views and gentle breeze, will undoubtedly add a new dimension to HAJ’s suite of housing projects in Portmore for which the market eagerly awaits.”“We fully expect this project to be completed on time and within budget as this is the standard we have set for ourselves,” he added.In his remarks, Attorney-at-law and General Counsel, Rite Solutions, Christopher Honeywell, hailed the partnership with the HAJ “in the provision of affordable and good quality housing solutions.”He noted that Cabinet was instrumental in providing the guidance and leadership that went into the structuring of the joint venture agreement, “which ensured a speedy, and efficient take off” of the project.The Shooter’s Hill Housing Development, which is to be done on a phased basis over a three-year period, will be a gated community featuring communal play areas, commercial space and a police post. Phase one will have the lower priced solutions, while phase two will have solutions with higher prices and more upscale finishes.With lot sizes ranging from 4,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet, the development will comprise 100 one-bedroom starter units at a cost of $7.6 million; 200 two-bedrooms, one bathroom for $11.5 million to $12.5 million; 220 two-bedrooms, two bathrooms ranging from $13.5 million to $14.5 million; and 103 three bedroom split-level units at $17.5 million.There will be water storage on site, and each unit will have a solar water heater.This public-private partnership entails the ‘design, build and finance’ model, where the HAJ puts up the land as equity along with its technical, legal and marketing skills, and the partner will design, build and finance the development, which the HAJ will sell and share the profits. This is being facilitated through a joint venture agreement between the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) and Rite Solutions Development Company. Construction is to begin by December on 623 new solutions under the Shooter’s Hill Housing Development project in Portmore, St. Catherine at a cost of $7 billion. Story Highlights Under the public-private partnership, affordable housing solutions, starting at $7.6 million, will be built on 157 acres of elevated land, primarily for low-and middle-income earners. read more

IDB Official Says Digital Economy Will Enhance Public Service Delivery

The IDB Regional Chief was speaking at the recent launch of the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) newly established Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Among the potential benefits to be derived, she says, are the streamlining of benefits, so that they “get to where they ought to be,” and significant savings on transaction costs. Story Highlights Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Country Manager, Therese Turner-Jones, believes Jamaica’s proposed transformation to a fully digital economy will enhance public service delivery and, by extension, the lives of persons accessing attendant provisions. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Country Manager, Therese Turner-Jones, believes Jamaica’s proposed transformation to a fully digital economy will enhance public service delivery and, by extension, the lives of persons accessing attendant provisions.Among the potential benefits to be derived, she says, are the streamlining of benefits, so that they “get to where they ought to be,” and significant savings on transaction costs.The IDB Regional Chief was speaking at the recent launch of the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) newly established Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.The online platform, which was launched by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, replaces the COJ’s ‘one-stop shop’ paper-based ‘superform’ that was introduced in 2014. It will facilitate 24-hour business registrations at the agency’s website – www.orcjamaica.com, from any location globally.Mrs. Turner-Jones said a 2018 IDB Study of Latin American and Caribbean countries showed that approximately 90 per cent of all government service transactions in these territories were done in person.The data, she further said, showed that only four per cent of all government service interactions in Jamaica were conducted digitally, describing this as “a very low number.”Mrs. Turner Jones said the study revealed that Barbados averaged the highest figure with 17 per cent, while Nicaragua only had a one per cent out-turn.She contended that “every single Jamaican ought to be able to access a government service digitally,” particularly in light of Jamaica’s extensive mobile penetration and coverage.“This is the world we are living in. There is no reason why most of what we want to do with the Government can’t be transacted on a mobile device,” she further argued.Mrs. Turner-Jones said the IDB study also showed that the number of government services in Jamaica not involving multiple transactions was a mere 11 per cent, compared to 63 per cent in Uruguay.Additionally, she said the data outlined that Caribbean nationals spend an average of four and a half hours to complete any government transaction in person, noting that this often involved visiting several agencies.While noting that this betters the Latin American average of nearly six hours, Mrs. Turner-Jones maintained that “it’s really not good.”In terms of cost, she said in developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, transactions done in person averaged $15 compared to 40 cents when done digitally.Mrs. Turner-Jones noted that in Mexico, “which is probably a little more comparable to Jamaica,” the cost is $9 for in-person transactions versus 45 cents for the digital format.She emphasised that this scenario “cannot continue… [and] shouldn’t be,” against the background of the onset of the technology-driven fourth industrial revolution, “because we know that [digitally] we can deliver services more efficiently.”Noting Prime Minister Holness’ challenge in 2017 for a multi-stakeholder effort towards positioning Jamaica to become the Caribbean’s first digital economy, Mrs. Turner-Jones said the eBRF’s launch represents a “really important first step in making this a reality.”The Electronic Business Registration Form creation is a collaborative effort carried out under the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme in the Cabinet Office, with IDB funding support. read more